The U.S. and Japan successfully conducted a missile interception test off the Hawaiian islands on Feb. 4. The USS John Paul Jones destroyed the target ballistic missile using its Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptor, reports stated. But an expert pointed out that Japan's new weapon is unable to threaten China.
Military observers believe the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, together with the U.S.-backed Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, have created a wider defensive range against China, and will threaten the security of the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.
"China always believes that the anti-missile issue bears on global strategic stability and mutual trust among major powers, and therefore shall be approached with great care," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a press conference on Feb. 6. "We are firmly against the U.S. and the ROK deploying the THAAD anti-missile defense system in the ROK," Lu continued.
A Russian analyst said the U.S. global missile defense system ultimately targets the nuclear deterrent capability of China and Russia.
Yang Chengjun, a Chinese missile expert, said that once the upgrade and deployment of the SM-3 system is completed, it will encourage Japanese militarism and threaten the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.
The U.S. and Japan also discussed ballistic missile defense during U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis's visit to Japan, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported. The SM-3 system will greatly enhance Japan's ballistic missile defense capability, Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun stated.
"But the SM-3 system couldn't intercept any Chinese missiles in real battle," Yang noted.
Shunzi Taoka, a Japanese military analyst, thinks that for Washington, a harmonious bilateral relationship with China is more important than one with Japan. Apart from counterbalancing China, the U.S. is attempting to develop a relationship of trust with China. While Japan is dreaming about encircling China with the help of U.S., the latter is giving China a warm hug, he described.
"I can not help but ask, who is on earth trapped inside the circle?" he wondered.